NEW RICHMOND -- Music enriches all lives, but especially can help those suffering from dementia, experts have found.

The Dementia Friendly Communities Coalition will hold a special Veterans Day concert 3 p.m. Nov. 10 featuring the St. Croix Valley Lifelong Singers at the American Legion, 1260 Wall St.

Vicki Bolton will be master of ceremonies. She is a chief hospital corpsman, HMC, U.S. Navy (retired) and lead pastoral caregiver at United Methodist Church in Hudson. She said she hopes veterans living with dementia or those who are caregivers will participate in the concert.

“Veterans have unique challenges, especially when it comes to dealing with a dementia. Those that have experienced PTSD are twice as likely to develop dementia than those without PTSD. As a veteran myself and an advocate for caregivers and those living with dementia, I feel it is very important to educate and uplift our veteran community and their caregivers,” she said.

The Lifelong Singers is a community choir of singers, with or without dementia, who join together to enjoy the musical experience and support each other. Under the direction of music educators Bobbi Pominville, conductor, and Carol Dahle, accompanist, this program will feature patriotic songs, old standards, folk tunes, and popular melodies.

Angie Pilgrim of the St. Croix Valley Foundation, which supports the DFCC, says that music -- including singing -- is an excellent way to connect with those living with dementia.

Pominville agrees: “All those living with dementia benefit from music, which allows them to sing, even if they can't speak. My joy is watching the successful process as we rehearse."

Jean Troyer of Hudson is a member of the choir. Her brother recently died from a type of dementia that left him without speech for the last four years of his life. She believes music has the power to reach those unable to communicate verbally. She encourages others to get involved in the choir.

“It was a really fun and joyful experience. Singing those familiar songs and the chance that they might be recognized or remembered by someone in the choir or the audience, that is a wonderful thing to experience,” she said.

Nancy Abrahamson, dementia care specialist at the Aging and Disability Resource Center of St. Croix County and DFCC member, has seen the healing powers of music firsthand in the families she serves.

“Those with dementia continue to want to be productive and valuable to their community. Singing with the Lifelong Singers and doing it in honor of the many veterans who have served our country is doubly satisfying,” she said.

The concert is free.

Rehearsals will be 6-7 p.m. Thursdays Oct. 24 and Nov 7 at United Methodist in New Richmond. They are open to all ages and abilities, but attendance at them is not required to be part of the choir Nov. 10.

For more information about the Lifelong Singers or the Dementia Friendly Coalition, contact Pilgrim at 715-386-9490 or email her at pilgrim@scvfoundation.org. For more information about support and services available for St. Croix County residents, contact Abrahamson at the ADRC at 715-381-4411 or email her at nancy.abrahamson@sccwi.gov.